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How to Build a Shed

Joseph Truini

Written by

Joseph Truini

Have you always wanted to know how to build a shed? Maybe building your own storage shed seemed daunting at first, but now, you wonder if you might be able to do it. The truth is that building your own shed is a lot more rewarding than purchasing a pre-fabricated one, or hiring someone to build it for you.

In the steps below, we will be building a 10×10 storage shed. This is just an example, but these steps can easily be modified and applied to any storage shed build. For more shed types and sizes, please check our free shed plans section. We highly recommend that you use screws instead of nails for every step of your project. They will give you added security because they don’t pry out as easily as nails do. 

Please check your local building codes and obtain the necessary permits prior to starting any building project. Let’s begin!

Material list

It’s important to make sure you have the proper materials prior to starting any building project. If you’re planning to build a 10×10 storage shed, you will need all of the following. Please note that the measurements for the pieces are indicated, which will save you a lot of time later on.


Step 1: Plan and Build Your Shed’s Foundation

build a shed foundation
Add a single layer of bricks on the top of concrete

Your shed’s foundation will provide a stable structure that will support your finished building. There are several types of foundations that you can choose from, and it really depends on what your needs are for the space you have. 

First, you will need to clear and level the area where the shed will be built. You will need enough space for a foundation that measures 10’-7 ½” on each side, from corner to corner. Once that is done, dig your trenches at least 1 inch wide and 1 inch deep for the footings. 

Concrete and Brick Foundation

We highly recommend building a concrete and brick foundation for your shed because of its stability. Begin by filling the trenches to ground level with concrete and allow some time for the concrete to harden. 

Once the concrete has hardened, you’re ready to spread mortar and add your bricks. Choose a small section of the foundation and spread a layer of mortar. Add a single layer of bricks on the top and continue to put mortar between them. Around 135 bricks should complete your foundation.

When you are finished, you should have a foundation that measures 10’-7 ½” on each side. This is the perfect size for a 10×10 storage shed.

Other types of foundations you might want to consider, based on your needs, include: 

  • Posts and beams – This is a great solution if you are building your storage shed on a hillside, in a sloping yard or on an elevated platform. 
  • Gravel bed – This might be a perfect solution for you if water drainage could be a problem. 
  • Wood rails and concrete blocks – This is a popular option because it is cost efficient and easy.

Step 2: Frame the Floor Joists

shed floor framing
Lay the joists every 11″

Your shed’s floor will be made from two rim/band joists and common joists. Connect the rim joists to the others and hold everything together. Mark the joists every 11 inches so that the floor’s plywood sheets will line up to the middle of the joists. For a 10×10 storage shed, the joists should be 9’-10 ½” long. Also, there should be 11” of space between each of them.

Remember to use wood screws to secure the beams. Using a square to measure the corner angles to make sure they are 90 degrees

Once you have the joist box constructed, you can install it to the chosen foundation.

Step 3: Install Plywood

shed floor plywood installation
Install the plywood for your shed

Once your joist box is installed, it’s time to install the plywood for your shed’s floor. Before you install it, make sure the plywood’s wood grain runs perpendicular to the joists. This will maximize the floor’s strength.

Most plywood sheets are 8’x4’. You will be using several sheets as you begin to build your storage shed’s floor. Some of the sheets will need to be cut according to the diagram above in order to fit properly.

Fit the first sheet of plywood into a corner and make everything lines up precisely. Use 2-inch Phillips flat head wood screws to secure the plywood to the frame. Add more rows of plywood to the frame, but offset them to keep the seams from lining up along the same joist each time. You might also want to consider applying construction adhesive before you start securing the plywood. This can help to reduce any creaking in the future.

Step 4: Frame Your Shed’s Walls

framing shed wall
Connect the 2x4s using two screws

Shed wall framing is very similar to floor framing. But instead of common joists and rim joists, walls have studs and top and bottom plates. You will have four top plates and four bottom plates. Half of them will be 10’ long, and the other half will be 9’-5”. Each plate should be 3 ½” wide. Lay out the wall studs the same way you did when you framed the floor. Use Phillips flat head wood screws to frame the walls. The 2x4s should be connected using two screws at each intersection

Of course, your shed’s walls will not all be the same. Some of them may have windows or doors, so you’ll want to follow your shed plan carefully to make sure you use the right materials with the correct measurements. The height of the shed will be 6’-11”, but depending on your design, you will also be using boards that are shorter for framing windows and doors in the walls.

Step 5: Assemble the Top Beams and Roof Frame

frame the shed roof
Use 2x4s or 2x6s to build your rafters

For roof framing assemble the top beams for your shed using 10’ pressure-treated lumber. The size of your boards will vary based on the size of the shed you’re building. Once you have the beams, connect them with flat head Phillips wood screws. Make sure to check the corners with a square to ensure that they are 90 degree angles

Use either 2x4s or 2x6s to build your rafters, and your choice may depend on the snow load you expect each year. To begin, follow the instructions in your shed plan and cut the rafters, collar ties and ridge board according to the directions. You will need 18 rafters that measure 6’-11” long. They should be spaced 1’-1 ¼” apart, just like in the above diagram. Once you get the roof frame assembled and installed, you may want to go back and add hurricane ties, which can offer more security.

Step 6: Add Sheeting and Siding

shed siding
Add sheeting and siding to your shed

Now it’s time to add sheathing and siding to your shed. Plywood is highly recommended for its durability and ease of installation. Please refer back to Step 3 and use the same method you used for the floor. 

As far as siding goes, you have a lot of options available to you. Let’s take a look at some of them. 

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is probably the most popular option for most sheds, and for a number of reasons. Vinyl siding is very attractive, and it makes it easy to match the look of the shed to the house. It’s also very practical because it offers a lot of protection from the rain and snow. 

Vinyl siding does not have any structural rigidity, so it will need to be reinforced as you install it. But this is a low-maintenance option that won’t rot or blister, so it’s definitely worth considering. 


T1-11 is extremely functional and it’s also cheap, which makes it a popular option for sheds. This type of siding is designed to look like shiplap, and it is really just a fancy type of plywood with a really nice finish. 

T1-11 is sold in 4’x8’ sheets, and it is very easy to install. Cutting out the windows and doors of the shed will only require you to use a handsaw once you get it in place. 

Metal Panels

Metal panels work really well for roofs, but it can be used for siding as well. When it is installed correctly, it can last a long time. Metal panels are also cost effective, but it still might not be the best option for everyone. 

Metal panels can be difficult to install; especially for someone who is new to construction. It can be difficult to cut and it sealing it off from the elements can be quite a challenge. If you do decide to use this type of siding, carefully check for any sharp edges and take care of them right away. 

Cedar Shakes

Cedar shakes are a beautiful siding option, although they do take some time and they are also rather expensive. They can be oiled with a water-resistant polymer or applied as-is so that over time, the elements give them a more rustic look. You will need to lathe and tar paper the exterior of your shed before you can install cedar shakes. 

Cedar shakes are a great option for their looks and functionality. You may want to consider various roof and siding treatments to keep them looking their best. Also, inspect them yearly so that any rotting shakes can be identified and replaced.

Step 7: Install Windows and Doors

install the shed's door
Install the double doors

A lot of sheds will only require single pane windows, which are inexpensive and practical. But if you plan to use your shed as an office or play area, you may want to consider double pane windows. Your windows can be installed directly to the wall framing or on top of the siding. You will need to add the trim in either case. 

Use your shed plan to construct the type of door you desire for your shed. This is usually a pretty quick and easy process. Once you have it built, you will line up the door’s opening with the trim and hang the door on three heavy-duty hinges. Your door should have a handle and a lock installed on the opposite side.

Step 8: Install the Roof

shed roof assembly with asphalt shingles
install your shingles according to the instructions

Asphalt roof shingles are a great option for your shed’s roof. It’s not expensive and it’s also easy to install. 

You’ll begin by installing the drip cap along the end edges of the roof using aluminum roofing nails. If your shed has a lean-to roof, start at the bottom and work your way up. 

Next, you will want to staple roofing paper onto the plywood on the roof. This will help to prevent excessive moisture to ruin the wood and keep it from rotting. Adding parallel lines to the roofing paper can help you keep your shingles straight. 

Finally, install your shingles according to the instructions on the packaging. Make sure you stagger the rows to keep water from penetrating the shingles over time. When you are finished, your roof should measure 6’-11 ½” x 10’-5 ¾” on each side.

Step 9: Install the Shed’s Ventilation System

install shed roof ventilation
Install the shed’s ventilation

Your shed should have a proper ventilation system to keep it cool and dry. For this step, all you need to do is install your louver gable vent in the proper opening, which should measure 1’-4”. Use flat head wood screws to secure it in place.

Step 10: Add Your Chosen Decorative Elements 

Refer to your shed plan to see which types of accessories you want to add to your shed. You may want to install window shutters, which are a great addition to any storage shed. You can buy window shutters, or you might want to consider making your own. 

Making your own window shutters will involve pressure-treated lumber and wood screws. Cut the boards to the appropriate sizes for the horizontal and vertical pieces of the shutters. Mill a recess along the vertical girts for the jalousies. Follow the instructions in your shed plan to assemble the shutters. 

Finally, install two 3-inch door hinges on either side of the window using wood screws and hang your window shutters. 

Other additions you might want to consider include: 

  • A porch or deck
  • A ramp or steps for the door
  • Pergolas
  • A roof drainage system

The Final Step: Enjoy Your New Storage Shed!

10x10 storage shed

Once you’ve cut the last board and screwed in the final screw, all that’s left to do is to stand back and admire your handiwork. You did it! You learned how to build a shed and you implemented that knowledge into building your very own. You’ll love the versatility and function that it brings to your backyard, as well as to your home in general. 

You should be proud of the finished product. We’d love to hear how it turned out!

Joseph TruiniJoseph Truini is a host on the Today’s Homeowner TV show and co-hosts the weekly Today’s Homeowner Radio Show. He has written three best-selling shed-building books and lives in Roxbury, Connecticut.

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